Eve Tallman, who has served as director of Mesa County Libraries since 2007, has announced that she plans to retire in August.
“I really love libraries, and I love my work, and yet I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to accomplish that are hard to do with a more-than-full-time job,” Tallman said.
“I have some family concerns tugging at me, namely spending more time with my husband and taking care of my aging mom. I’d also like to travel and climb,” said Tallman, an avid rock climber. “I conjure up a new road trip itinerary on a daily basis lately. I have an urge to pull weeds in the garden and to volunteer for causes I am involved with.”
Since Tallman joined Mesa County Libraries, the library system has moved its Fruita, Palisade, Clifton, and Orchard Mesa branches into newer, better facilities. In addition, an expanded and improved Central Library in downtown Grand Junction is scheduled to open in June.
“The people of Mesa County have sought a new Central Library for well over a decade, and we’re finally getting it done,” Tallman said. “We still have work to do in Clifton, which needs a bigger and better facility, and the northwest part of town, which could really use a branch, and I believe the groundwork has been established for this to happen in the coming years.”
Under Tallman’s leadership, Mesa County Libraries adopted a strategic plan that helped to achieve improved collections, increased service to the public, better hours, more comfortable places, and modern technologies. In response, library use in Mesa County increased by 30 to 40 percent in just a few years. More Mesa County residents have library cards than ever before.
“We grew our staff to almost 80 people. We’re actually one of the bigger employers in Mesa County, and this all has been accomplished to meet the needs of Mesa County residents,” Tallman said. “As an employer, we offer our workers a decent wage and progressive benefits. We have accomplished all these improvements without raising our tax rate and with no public debt.”
Tallman said she is proud of Mesa County Libraries’ collaborations with other entities to improve services to the community.
“The new Recreation Center and Library in Fruita is a nationally recognized model of efficient use of public funds. The Downtown Development Authority, Mesa County, and the City of Grand Junction have all partnered in our Central Library Project,” she said.
Barry Blanchard, president of the Mesa County Public Library Board of Trustees, said the board will begin a search for a new director immediately. He credited Tallman for providing leadership to Mesa County Libraries during a challenging time and for her continuous focus on improving service to the public.
“Mesa County citizens have been the tremendous beneficiaries of having Eve serve as the library director with her great vision, leadership, and managerial skill,” Blanchard said. “Unquestionably, Eve has been a guiding force in helping raise the bar and deliver exceptional library services to our communities.”
“Regretfully for us, Eve has decided to open her next chapter. We certainly wish her well and are very grateful for her substantial efforts on our behalf. Her skill and dedication to our library will definitely be missed,” Blanchard said.
“Now we look to the future to identify our next director and the challenge of replacing an individual who has been an integral part of our successes over the last several years,” Blanchard said. “Eve has helped assemble a fantastic staff of very talented people at the library, and together with the new director, we will continue on our path toward excellence.”